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What does it mean to make a mistake? To make a mistake is to be wrong. Luckily, there’s a book on that. I recommend that book; in fact it’s some time since I read it and it’s time to read it again. However, being wrong is not the subject of this post. There is a sub-set of being wrong; it is to be ignorant. So, the re-formulated question is; what does it mean to be ignorant? It means you are […]


Judging judges

There are two big ideas current in modern law. One is expressed in the law of the EU; it is the freedom to do business. The other is the law generated in response to the Second World War; it is the law of human rights. There has been an effort to bring them together (and an effort to keep them apart). The effort to bring them together is in the Treaty of European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights […]


Looking East

Trenitalia is Italy’s national train system. Being national, it is open to political interference in the form of over-manning. Other things being equal, this is good for passengers and employees. Ireland can have nothing to say about this situation. Irish citizens, likewise, must confine their reflections on Italian train travel to their memoirs. The USA also has a bloated and inflated industry; its prison system. There are 758 prisoners per 100,000 of population there. This is not the stuff for […]


The Actio Popularis, Aarhus Convention and class actions in Ireland

Ireland currently has a limited form of class action. It is the “actio popularis”. It is not like the US form of class action; it is not of direct benefit to individual members of the public. They get the benefit when they are in the class that benefits from the judgment. They do not simply lodge their claim for compensation, say. The Irish courts have accepted “actio popularis” claims in only one such proceedings; Digital Rights Ireland Ltd. v The […]


In Praise of

cc Opensourceway

Had we but world enough and time… To peer-review our works and rhyme ‘Twould serve us well in private state But publick matters are not so fine To let us leave the readers wait Who pay us time for their estate And not the purchase of our pine – With apologies to Andrew Marvell The news that the blog, written and maintained by Dr. Eoin O’Dell of Trinity College Dublin has gone offline was received in this office with […]


Injury claims are a political issue

This website is about the law. That’s why it is also about politics. They go together. The Irish political class has wrecked Ireland economically, but its faults do not finish there. Political careers need money and other supports. A politician can trade public policy for that money and/or support. In other words, a policy can be promoted by people in circumstances where they appear to be independent; they do not appear to have any personal interest in the outcome, but […]


Pyrite: Liability, compensation and time limits for claims

The cost of remediation of buildings damaged by the incorporation of pyrites into them is considerable. This is unavoidable where the construction works have been completed and, typically, the pyrites are in the sub-base of the construction. The pyrites expand in certain circumstances, deforming the floor and walls and other structural elements of the building. The current estimate is for 1,100 private dwellings affected. It has been estimated that each will cost €50,000 to repair. That’s a total of €50 million. […]


Truths, damned truths and statistics

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” One of the functions of a solicitor is to make the significant visible. On occasions this is easy; on others it is hard. It is easier if there is universal, or near-universal, acceptance of some aspect of reality. Much of reality is banal and the banal lacks significance, although it is true. “Truth”, therefore must be selected […]


Abolishing the Seanad

Seanad Election

There are many things wrong with Irish political and judicial institutions. We at McGarr Solicitors do not think that those serious defects should be ignored or that the electorate should be distracted from them by the campaign to abolish the Seanad. Our administration structures are in the form they now take because the Irish Constitution says so. For a number of reasons, those structures are not properly functioning. What is wrong with Irish political and judicial institutions? The Executive (Ministers […]


Mad, bad and dangerous to know

Klaus Barbie

On 21st June 1943, the Gestapo raided the house of Dr. Frédéric Dugoujon in Lyon. There they found nine leaders of the French Resistance, including Dr. Dugoujon, Jean Moulin, Raymond Aubrac and René Hardy. Only René Hardy escaped, there and then. Jean Moulin, returned from Britain, had been charged by General De Gaulle with uniting the various factions within the Resistance. He was tortured extensively by Klaus Barbie in Lyon and died in a railway station in Metz on his way to Germany. […]